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Where is Qinghai Province and what is there to see?


Where is Qinghai Province and what is there to see?

Sheep graze in the field along the roadside to Qinghai Lake.

© 2012 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com.
Question: Where is Qinghai Province and what is there to see?
Answer: Location: modern Qinghai (青海) Province sits to the east of Tibet in western China. The region is called Amdo in the Tibetan language and is considered Eastern Tibet. The region is bordered by Xinjiang (Autonomous Region) to the north, Inner Mongolia to the northeast, Gansu to the east and Sichuan to the southeast.

According to the Lonely Planet, Qinghai is "one of the great cartographic constructions of our time". The area was formerly part of the Tibetan empire and called Amdo. It was conquered by the Qing Dynasty in the early 1700s and incorporated into modern China in 1928 (the Republic of China) and became a province in 1949 (PRC).

Capital City: Xining (西宁) is the capital and sits at the eastern edge of the provincial border near Gansu.

Attractions: Qinghai Province is considered quite remote and is relatively undeveloped. However, there are many military sites and military-related testing is conducted there. Culturally, Qinghai is quite interesting as it is home to large Tibetan, Mongol, Turkic peoples as well as Hui (Chinese Muslims) and Han Chinese settlers.

The natural environment is the biggest attraction in Qinghai. Three of China's (and Asia's) major rivers find their sources in Qinghai's mountain ranges: the Yangtze, the Mekong and the Yellow. Other attractions include

  • Qinghai Lake - the largest inland salt-water lake in China.
  • Kumbum Monastery (Ta'er Si) - one of the most important Tibetan Buddhist sites in Amdo and seats of the Yellow Hat Tibetan Buddhists.
  • Tibetan Culture (Medicine) Museum - in Xining is an excellent museum with fascinating Tibetan cultural historical relics as well as home to the longest thangka painting in the world.
  • Repkong (Tongren) - a center of Tibetan Buddhist art where thangka painting is studied and carried out.
  • Qinghai-Tibet Railway - completed in 2006, it is the the highest railway in the world. It links the city of Golmud in Qinghai with Lhasa At the time of my visit the rail link was being brought to Xining.
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